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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour


by Polly Reid

Timmy Solomito of Islip, NY in the Diversified Metals/R.B. Enterprises sponsored Ford put car owner Eric Sanderson back in victory lane with a convincing win in the NWMT Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. The 42 Annual Icebreaker marks Solomito’s first ever career NWMT win.

“I’ve been coming to Thompson for many years watching, it’s always been of a dream of mine to turn right onto that stretch there going to victory lane. To do it in such a great car with the 16 team, it really means a lot.” From his start on the Tour with Wayne Anderson to his current ride in the Flamingo Motorsports 16, Solomito is quick to thank everyone who “believed in me and has been behind me this whole time.”

Solomito took the initial green thirteenth and as the long green run continued, the 24 year old driver was up to sixth by the half way mark. The first caution on lap 81 brought the field down pit row and while Justin Bonsignore was the first out of the pits, Solomito gained the positions he needed to put him in contention for the top spot. From fourth on the lap 92 restart to second one circuit later, Solomito was 3 wide out of turn four with Justin Bonsignore and Ryan Preece. At the line it was Solomito the new leader on lap 94. A caution three circuits later closed up the field and Solomito nailed the restart. “Restarts haven’t been my strong point,” confessed Solomito. “I actually called Mike Stefanik this week and chatted on the phone for a good thirty minutes about restarts, what could make me better. He gave me the time out of his day to let me know about what maybe I was doing wrong. I used a couple of his tricks he taught me over the phone and that really catapulted us to have a good restart and take the lead.”

Solomito was challenged for the lead by Ryan Preece losing the top spot on lap 111. Solomito answered back a few circuits later with a strong run into turn three emerging the final leader of the day on lap 117. Solomito broke from the pack and today, was not to be denied crossing the line with a solid 3.12 second lead over Ryan Preece second, Justin Bonsignore third, Doug Coby fourth and Ron Silk fifth.

“The guys on the 16 had an incredible stop; we picked up a lot of track position. We had a car that was very stable and we picked them off one by one. We got into the top seven, then picked up the spots that we needed on pit road- that’s what catapulted us to the win.”

“I can’t thank Sly (Szaban) enough; he made a great adjustment on the stop to get the car perfect. The guys just made an excellent pit stop, that’s what really got us in victory lane today.”

Ryan Preece from Berlin, CT in the Ed and Connie Partridge owned, TS Haulers/Riverhead Raceway sponsored Chevrolet took the lead at the green and dominated the first 85 laps. “Racing for wins is what I like to do and that’s why I like doing this.”

“We just missed it on the stop,” Preece explained. “I thought we were going to have something for them, we got the lead then all of a sudden it just started over rotating a tick then I tried compensating for it by going to the bottom and it looked like we were starting to reel him in a little bit then I wore it out down there.”

“Eddie and Connie they both give us the equipment we need, we test when we need to test and we learn the things we need to learn. I’m happy the test paid off. The 2 has been really dominating here- I’d say we were one of the best cars.”

Running a full schedule in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Preece will be back in the Partridge ride when his schedule allows which at this point appears to be nine NWMT races including the next one, the Spring Sizzler.

He’s baaaaack. Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, NY in the Ken Massa owned M3 Technology Chevrolet started tenth and had moved up to fifth by the time the first yellow flew at lap 81. The M3 Technology team burned up the pit stop getting Bonsignore out of the pits first. Bonsignore led seven circuits before Solomito powered past for the top spot with Preece following shortly after to take over second with 45 to go. The battle to watch was the final 25 plus circuits as Bonsignore masterfully held off the powerhouse of Doug Coby to claim the podium finish.

“From inside the car, I knew they were making an adjustment,” said Bonsignore about the pit stop. “We dropped the jack and we were going up pit road and nobody passed me. I was really proud of those guys. They’re the best on pit road, I’d put them up against anybody.”

“I was doing everything I could to hold him off,” Bonsignore explained about the hard fought battle with Coby. “He seemed to fall off at the end and I was able to run my own race and not worry about him in the mirror.”

“This is 180 degrees better than last year. Last year was real tough. This is only one race but you can’t have any mulligans in this Series and if you do, you can only have one or two. If you can go to tech every week you’ll be in a position at the end. We would have liked to win the race but you have to take what you can and third was the best we were going to get today. I’m really proud of the effort, we’ll go onto Stafford- it’ll be nice to get a Sizzler win.”

Donny Lia crossed for sixth, Eric Goodale seventh, Jimmy Blewett, Rowan Pennink and Woody Pitkat completed the top ten.

Prior to the start of the Icebreaker 150- Thompson honored two people that meant a lot to the racing community who we lost over the winter. Ron Bouchard’s #47 driven by Ken Bouchard along with Joe Brady’s famous 00 modified, led the NWMT field onto the 5/8 mile oval and paced the field for several circuits in a proud and fitting tribute to those we won’t forget.

And finally, we wish Russ Dowd, the voice of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park for nearly 40 years a wonderful and well deserved retirement. We look forward to seeing Russ at the races enjoying the view from the fans seat.

The next NWMT event is the NAPA Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway on April 24th.

This and That:
Highest finishing rookie at the Icebreaker was Matt Swanson of Acton, MA. Swanson crossed the line 15th.

A host of driver changes and cars during the off season, Ron Silk of Norwalk, CT was the highest finishing ‘new combo’ with a fifth place finish in the Danny Watts, Jr. owned, Horton Avenue Materials sponsored Chevrolet.

Super pit crew ‘high five’ to the M3 Technology crew that ripped off an amazing pit stop moving Justin Bonsignore from in the pits fifth, to out of the pits first.

Finally, the ‘memory maker’ of the day- Timmy Solomito who qualified 13th, wins his first NWMT event only to run out of fuel on the cool down lap and had to be pushed into victory lane. Timmy said it all, “someone was watching over us today.” You can’t make this stuff up.
Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
: April 11, 2016

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